There’s an adage I’ve heard from time to time that claims “Cut Day is harder on the coach than it is the player.”
As a high school athlete who had to make the walk through the locker room before school and glance at the list on the coaches office window, I’ve always strenuously objected such a notion. But I also can’t pretend that cuts are easy on the coach. I know they aren’t. I’ve talked to plenty of coaches who struggle with it.
When we began naming All-NorCal Football Teams in 2013, we wanted to try something non-traditional and avoid the standard first-team, second-team, etc.. What we decided was to simply select an actual team — a roster of 48 players, which this year expanded to 50. We’d select an equal number of offensive and defensive players, and could use position flexibility for years when a certain position group was especially stacked.
We name starters and reserves, but that’s really just to stir conversation. If a player is on the roster, he’s All-NorCal all the way. No other designation is required.
It’s a system that has worked really well for us, but it does so to speak create a Cut Day, and us playing the coaches role. And we can admit, it stinks from the other side too.
Getting to the 25 offensive players featured in this issue was brutal, and a lot of REALLY good players were left off. Some who deserve mentioning here, in no particular order: Jake Westphal (Campolindo-Moraga), Jalen McKenzie (Clayton Valley-Concord), Jake SImmons (Rancho Cotate-Rohnert Park), Tyler Reynolds (Sutter), Montaz Thompson and Devon Taylor (Pittsburg), Nick Calzaretta (Redwood-Larkspur), Kalei Aukai (Santa Rosa), Eric Bendyk (Analy-Sebastopol), Patrick Blake (Foothill-Palo Cedro), Joe Curry (Folsom), Taylor Tonda (Granite Bay), Wade Willet (De La Salle-Concord), Ashton Morgan (Pleasant Valley-Chico) and Zay Randle (Monte Vista-Danville).
If your name was on that list, feel proud. Each of these players were seriously considered and equally difficult to leave off of our offense.
There’s also the matter of the Player of the Year awards that we named this issue. There were supposed to be two awards, we ended up with three, and our overall Player of the Year likely isn’t the player you think it is.
We weigh a lot of things when considering our Player of the Year: Complete contribution to the team, versatility, team performance, and player performance in the biggest games. You’ll notice we didn’t list collegiate promise. We aren’t setting out to build the list of the NorCal’s top recruits. That’s for others to do. We’re trying to choose the best team based on players’ success during the 2016 high school season.
That’s just a little something for you to keep in mind as you start making your list of who we left off. As for us, we will be going through the grind again as we choose our defensive roster to be released in the February issue.
Wish us luck.
SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.